Changing Manila one toilet at a time

Thank You, Lord for a bit of good news.

DOTC to upgrade toilets in all airports, ports
by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines – The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) may soon be able to shake off its title as the “world’s worst airport.”
After President Aquino noticed leaky faucets in the airport’s toilets when he made the rounds during Holy Week, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) is looking to upgrade and rehabilitate all the toilets not just in NAIA, but in all airports, ports, train stations and Land Transportation Office waiting rooms.
The DOTC will soon open the bidding for the rehabilitation and upgrade of 786 toilets and the construction of 231 new ones.
Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said he has noticed a lot of the toilets require repairs, but the procurement of equipment for each agency would cost a lot. Thus, the DOTC opted for bulk purchasing, which would translate into 30-35% in savings. (Read more)

My note:
I hope the government would consider upgrading the restrooms of government offices, starting with the Department of Tourism, where many foreigners wander. I visited last January and found toilets even worse than NAIA.
My apologies to the DOT, but the restroom was just begging to be photographed and renovated.
I know I said I love old mirrors, but this is just ridiculous.

DOT restroom

Apologies to DHL

DOT restroom

I saved water because I didn’t want to touch the faucet—or the soap

DOT restroom

A wooden board as a quick fix

DOT restroom

Perhaps new tiles are in order? New everything?

DOT restroom

Kind regards,

Welcome to Amsterdam

The hot weather in Manila has made me reminisce about the cold weather, so I decided to write about Amsterdam, my second favorite town in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is only 20 minutes by train from Utrecht Centraal. It costs about 5.5 euros to get there—so easy, as Mich Dulce showed me one time.

Amsterdam Central Station

Check out the sosy Burger King at the station

The most sosy Burger King in Amsterdam

Some other modes of transportation: the Dutch tuktuk with the good-looking driver

Dutch tuktuk

The horse and carriage


and the boats


As soon as you leave the station you’ll see many interesting shops such as Options! which sells bike, home, and baby accessories, as well as stationery and furniture.

Options! Amsterdam

Options! Amsterdam

I bought a pillow here for my apartment, by a Dutch fabric design student

Options! Amsterdam

The store accepts credit and debit cards only—no cash—an unusual concept, presumably to avoid theft and hold-ups.
Next we searched for H&M Home, which I really wanted to go to.

H&M Home, Amsterdam

I ended up buying only three things in multiples for myself and pasalubong. The merchandise looks more interesting online than in reality

H&M Home

Tikal is one of the stores we just walked into because I spotted some oil-cloth bags on display

Tikal, Amsterdam

I almost bought the red gingham bag but Mich convinced me blue is cooler and more traditionally Dutch

Tikal oil-cloth bags

Love this

My Dutch valise

Inside valise

Literally bumped into my sister-in-law Joy at Cos!

Cos, Amsterdam

Dropped by our friend Paolo Basa’s flat by the canal. Haven’t seen him since the ’90s and he still looks amazing.

Paolo Basa in Amsterdam

The Last Supper

Paolo's Boy Bawang

(to be continued)

Alexi Tan presents “Divergence” for Fiat 500 By Gucci

Alexi Tan, I’ve known since college. He was a Xavier boy who became a photographer in London and New York, moved to Hong Kong and is now a filmmaker based in Beijing. The last time I saw him was in 2005 at the opening of Acquario in Malate.

Alexi Tan and Cecile van Straten

He keeps in touch via email and I’m happy to show you his recent short film, Divergence for Fiat 500 By Gucci, which premiered this week at the Salone de Mobile in Milan.



Alexi Tan, whose films have graced the Venice International Film Festival, is one of the visionary creatives invited by Gucci’s Creative Director Frida Giannini to produce short films with Fiat 500 by Gucci as the inspiration.
He joins Jefferson Hack (Editor in Chief of Dazed & Confused and Another Magazine), Chris Sweeney (Film Director for NOWNESS), Olivier Zahm (Editor in Chief of Purple Fashion magazine), and Franca Sozzani (Editor in Chief of Vogue Italy) in the project.
The short film is Alexi’s maiden venture for PLAY Productions and stars China’s fastest rising actors, Feng Shaofeng and Xiong Naijin.




“This project has been in the works for almost a year and we are very proud of this as our first outing—handling everything from concept, production all the way to promotions, working very closely with an international team from China, Hong Kong and Italy,” he said.

#Owow a present!

When it comes to swag, size matters. Because we get them all the time, it helps to get noticed when your present is really big. Make that taller than my six-foot husband.
Yesterday Oishi sent this.

From Oishi

With it, some notes on Oishi that weren’t quite complete

From Oishi

and the box has a slot

From Oishi

That opens up to all the Oishi chips you can imagine

From Oishi

It’s like a chips vending box! My sons grabbed the Pillows, Jeroen got the Bread Pan, and I got my favorite Caramel Popcorn which I’m eating right now.
All the people in the house are fascinated and allowed to get whatever they want.
It’s a great gift idea! If Oishi would sell them, I would send them to our special friends.
I wonder how much this would cost with delivery charge?


Today a second Oishi vending box arrived, so we have two! One box will be sent to Jeroen’s office, while the other stays here for the summer.
Thank you Shera and Oishi! Can’t wait to visit the plant!

Click here to see who else got the box —> #Owow

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